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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2022, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (3): 213-220.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.02.003

• Systematic Review • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Reporting and methodological quality of meta-analyses of acupuncture for patients with migraine: A methodological investigation with evidence map

Ting-ting Lu a,b, Cun-cun Lu b,c, Mei-xuan Li b,d, Li-xin Ke e, Hui Cai f, Ke-hu Yang b,d   

  1. a Institution of Clinical Research and Evidence-Based Medicine, Gansu Provincial Hospital, Lanzhou 730000, Gansu Province, China
    b Evidence-Based Medicine Center, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, Gansu Province, China
    c Institute of Basic Research in Clinical Medicine, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100700, China
    d Key Laboratory of Evidence-Based Medicine and Knowledge Translation of Gansu Province, Lanzhou 730000, Gansu Province, China
    e Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Center, the First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510080, Guangdong Province, China
    f General Surgery Clinical Medical Center, Gansu Provincial Hospital, Lanzhou 730000, Gansu Province, China
  • Received:2021-07-12 Accepted:2022-01-10 Online:2022-05-09 Published:2022-02-04
  • Contact: Ke-hu Yang; E-mail address:;Hui Cai; E-mail address:


Acupuncture has been widely used to relieve migraine-related symptoms. However, the findings of previous systematic reviews (SRs) and meta-analyses (MAs) are still not completely consistent. Their quality is also unknown, so a comprehensive study is needed.

To evaluate the reporting and methodological quality of these MAs concerning acupuncture for migraine, and summarize evidence about the efficacy and safety of acupuncture for migraine.

Search strategy
PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, Chinese Biomedical Databases, Wanfang Data, and VIP databases were searched from inception to September 2020, with a comprehensive search strategy.

Inclusion criteria
The pairwise MAs of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) concerning migraine treated by acupuncture or acupuncture-based therapies, with a control group that received sham acupuncture, medication, no treatment, or acupuncture at different acupoints were included.

Data extraction and analysis
Two independent investigators screened studies, extracted relevant data, and assessed reporting and methodological quality using PRISMA 2009 and AMSTAR 2, then all results were cross-checked. Spearman correlation test was used to evaluate the correlation between reporting and methodological quality scores.

A total of 20 MAs were included in this study. The included MAs indicated that acupuncture was efficacious and safe in preventing and treating migraine when compared with control intervention. There was a high correlation between reporting and methodological quality scores (rs = 0.87, P < 0.001). The quality of the included SRs needs to be improved mainly with regard to protocol and prospective registration, using a comprehensive search strategy, summarizing the strength of evidence body for key outcomes, a full list of excluded studies with reasons for exclusion, reporting of RCTs’ funding sources, and assessing the potential impact of risk of bias in RCTs on MA results.

Acupuncture is an effective and safe intervention for preventing and treating migraine, and could be considered as a good option for patients with migraine. However, the reporting and methodological quality of MAs included in this overview is suboptimal. In the future, AMSTAR 2 and PRISMA tools should be followed when making and reporting an SR with MA.

Key words: Migraine, Acupuncture, Systematic review, Meta-analysis, AMSTAR, 2PRISMA

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